EBACE Convention News

Partners and, perhaps, competitors]

 - May 21, 2008, 12:01 PM

Eyebrows were raised in January when Grob was named as the single source for the Learjet 85’s entire primary and secondary composite structures. That was because Zurich-based Grob is also developing another all-composite light jet, its own SPn, which could potentially compete with Bombardier’s Learjet 40XR.

Not so, said Bombardier Learjet vice president of sales Mike Fahey. “The SPn is not a Learjet competitor; it is more a King Air-type airplane,” he told EBACE Convention News here. However, by the numbers the Grob light jet would appear to be a formidable opponent of the Learjet 40XR.

The $6.9 million SPn has a four-passenger NBAA IFR range of 1,851 nm flying at a 340-knot cruise speed. It can also carry 10 occupants and fly at up to 415 knots. In contrast, the Learjet 40XR costs almost $2.3 million more at $9.26 million, yet its NBAA IFR range with four passengers is shorter by 250 nm. The 40XR’s cabin is also tighter and can accommodate one fewer occupant than the SPn. It does have an advantage in the speed department, with a high-speed cruise of 452 knots.

“The SPn is going to be a wonderful airplane, and the partnership between Grob and Bombardier on the Learjet 85 should produce a fantastic airplane,” J. Mesinger Corporate Jet Sales CEO Jay Mesinger told EBACE Convention News yesterday.  “But the SPn definitely competes with the 40XR. Everything competes with everything else in this business.”

Only future sales figures will answer the competition question.